Your Guide to Earning Extra Holiday Dough

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Your Guide to Earning Extra Holiday Dough

  • Mindy Wilson

    Mindy is a lover of travel, deals, ice cream and long walks on mountain tops. She is an esthetician by trade, and can be found at Sensibilities day spa providing skin care and waxing faces, (and...

expensive! Photo: Anssi Koskinen (Flickr)

One thing I loathe as I start to age is a hobby most women seem to thrive on: shopping. Unless I am looking for something in particular, the idea of strolling through the Goodwill bins on Patton Ave. makes me break out in hives. In the age of internet shopping, sometimes it's hard for me to even go to the grocery store when I know I can have my carrots and milk sent directly to my door. So as I think about what to get people who have everything, I look to the internet. 

One of my favorite sites (and get ready to throwback here) is Groupon.com. That's right. For local deals, weird inventions, and a guaranteed something for everyone, look no further. Some of your favorite local spots have a repeating deal on this site: India Garden, The Hop, Iannucci's Pizzeria–the list goes on. Send one as a gift to a loved one for the holidays! 

And, I'm about to blow your mind by taking it a step further. Two apps that I've been able to earn a ton of money from purchases on are Ibotta and Ebates. Don't be scared: These are not pyramid schemes, they just require a little more effort when shopping online and are not for the lazy at heart. 

Ebates: This app is free to download. How does it work? You earn a % of money back for stuff you order from participating retailers and a check is sent to you quarterly. So let's say you want to order a new fridge from Lowes.com (this actually happened to me): You click on the app, search for the retailer, and are sent to the retailers site. Ebates indicates how much of a percentage you will receive back on your purchase. Percentages can change based on holidays, retailers' choice and just because. Most days, Lowes.com is only 1% back, but on the day I ordered I got lucky—they were giving back a whopping 7% back and I got $109 just for the extra step of going through this app. Groupon, Petco, Barnes and Noble, Travelocity, and Bed, Bath and Beyond are a few of the other participating retailers. (That's right: Groupon keeps a pretty constant 6% back for anything you buy.).

So this is an example of how I roll. I search my ebates app for the Groupon site, I click, I buy The Hop Groupon (3 for $9) for a $15 value (each coupon worth $5). Stay with me. I get 6% back, which gives me $.54 in return. So I've paid $2.82 for $5 worth of The Hop. Most days, Groupon also runs a 20% off locals deal, so I can get my ice cream even cheaper! And I wonder why I stay overweight, smh.  And don't forget to ask for a stamp card once you get your ice cream: 10 stamps equals a free cone. A two scoop waffle cone equals exactly $5, so you don't have to search for extra change while hoards of people wait in line.

The negatives about this app? A check is only sent to you four times a year, meaning if you haven't accumulated $5 by the time the "Big Check" is being sent out, you will have to wait until the next "pay period." So it can take a while. The percentages are not huge if you are making small purchases, so it's much better to get lucky, as I did, and buy the big ticket item to get a substantial amount back. If you have any plans to do your holiday shopping from online retailers, it's worth downloading this app, even if you don't use it after your shopping is done. 

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Ibotta: Also free to download, this app works mainly with groceries and grocery-type items but is branching into the online shopping world, including some purchases on amazon.com. How does this app work? For online shopping, it is exactly like ebates, with fewer participating retailers. For grocery store shopping, it features different products that you can get money back on by taking a picture of the receipt and scanning the bar code. As I said—it's not for the lazy at heart. However, online retailers like Boxed.com, Jet.com, Walmart.com, and even Uber have been participating and often at higher percentages back than ebates (Groupon gives 7% on local deals here).  So check this app for holiday surprises for everyone! This app links to your Venmo or PayPal accounts, so you don't have to wait on a check to come through snail mail. I have made over $200 using this app since the beginning of the year on everyday purchases and at the grocery store or online, and again I can transfer that money directly to my bank account. 

Of course you can also make money by referring friends and family ;). So if you are thinking maybe these apps are right for you here is my personal link to both of them:

https://ibotta.com/r/ayqujwf

https://go.ebat.es/imsk/IUA7cLLUoC

Happy shopping!